Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
Protecting the Constitutional Promise of Justice for All by
Guaranteeing the Right to Trial by Jury,
Preserving an Independent Judiciary,
And Providing Access to the Courts for All Georgians
Governor’s Signing of Insurance Bill
Ensures Georgians Will Get What They Pay For
SB 276, a bill ensuring fairness for auto-insurance policy holders,
signed into law by Governor Sonny Perdue
Atlanta – Today, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law a bill that expands options for Georgia auto-insurance consumers. SB276 will permit Georgia consumers to purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists coverage that can be stacked on top of insurance covering the at-fault driver in an automobile accident if the at-fault driver does not have enough coverage to help the injured consumer. Twenty three other states, including most of Georgia’s southeastern neighbors, already permit “UM Stacking.”
Stacking UM Coverage allows you to stack your coverage on top of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage up to the amount of your damages; whereas before you could only access that portion of your coverage – if any at all – that exceeded the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.
“Before SB 276 was signed into law, a person who had elected to pay for UM insurance coverage and paid a monthly premium for that coverage, often was not able to recover the money they needed from their insurance company – even if they were in a catastrophic accident,” said Buck Rogers, an Atlanta attorney. “For roughly the cost of a gallon of milk per month, families who choose to purchase Stacking UM will finally get what they have paid for – and when they need it most. SB 276 is very pro-consumer and wise public policy legislation and we appreciate the Governor’s recognition of that fact.”
“Sadly, most people didn’t know that they could not access this coverage until they were in a bad wreck,” said Chan Caudell an attorney in Cornelia. “I would get calls from people who were injured, missing work, and didn’t know how to cover their bills and feed their families. They thought the insurance they had purchased would help them. Unfortunately, it did not. SB 276 changes that.”
SB 276’s passage was a two-year process that began with the Senate’s adoption of the bill in 2007. During the 2008 session, the House added a second pro-consumer piece of legislation to the bill. The new piece ensured that the Insurance Commissioner would still control the rates for the mandatory coverage demanded by state law while letting the other coverage compete within a free market.
“Governor Perdue appropriately rejected the doomsday rhetoric of bureaucratic regulators determined to hold onto their personal political power and did Georgia’s consumers a big favor by signing SB 276,” said Bill Clark, Director of Political Affairs for the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. “Now Georgians can rest assured that they will be getting what they pay for.”